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Oregon Shakespeare Festival: unseen

Evren Odcikin discusses the making and production of unseen with playwright Mona Mansour, as it is staged at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

We are closing out season 8 of The Archive Project with the fourth episode in our series with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in which we have explored storytelling in the intersections of playwriting, theatre production, performance, and literature. This episode features playwright Mona Mansour and director Evren Odcikin discussing unseen, which had its West Coast premiere at OSF in summer 2022.

unseen follows an American conflict photographer who wakes up at the site of a massacre in Syria. The surreal experience leads her on a journey to piece together the details of her own family history, and explore the impact of our individual actions.

In this conversation, Mansour discusses how her personal identity as a Lebanese American informs her creative works, and the profound impact of sharing immigrant stories on American stages. Monsour’s plays ask nuanced questions about what it means to identify as “American,” and do the vital work of expanding our country’s mythologies to include widened perspectives. As we continue to emerge from two years of isolation and shuttered theatres and concert halls, witnessing art and hearing deeply human stories, together once more, will be essential for our collective connection and healing.

View more information about unseen on OSF’s website here: https://www.osfashland.org/en/productions/2022-plays/unseen.aspx

Mona Mansour is a Lebanese American playwright. Her plays include The Vagrant Trilogy, which will make its New York City debut in April 2022 at the Public Theater, directed by Mark Wing-Davey; the production was in technical rehearsals in March 2020 and was postponed due to Covid-19. unseen will have its West Coast debut at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in spring 2022, directed by Evren Odcikin. We Swim, We Talk, We Go To War premiered at SF’s Golden Thread in 2018 (dir. Odcikin). The Vagrant Trilogy was presented at Mosaic Theater in June 2018, (dir. Wing-Davey.) Of the trilogy: The Hour of Feeling (dir. Wing-Davey) premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and an Arabic translation was presented at NYU Abu Dhabi, as part of its Arab Voices Festival in 2016. Urge for Going: productions at the Public Theater (dir. Hal Brooks) and Golden Thread (dir. Odcikin). The Vagrant was commissioned by the Public and workshopped at the 2013 Sundance Theater Institute. The Way West: Labyrinth (dir. Mimi O’Donnell); Village Theater (dir. Christina Myatt); Steppenwolf (dir. Amy Morton); and Marin Theatre Company (dir. Hayley Finn).

Evren Odcikin is a theater director, writer, and arts administrator with a deep commitment to bringing historically-excluded stories and voices to the American stage. Odcikin is the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Artistic Programming at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a founding member of the MENA Theater Makers Alliance steering committee, and a founder of Maia Directors.

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